26 October 1859Madison County, New York, United States


12 December 1969Morrisville, Madison County, New York, United States



Emma Isbell

Emma Finette Isbell was an American supercentenarian whose age has been validated by LongeviQuest. At the time of her passing, she was the oldest (known and validated) living person in the United States.

Jump to:


Emma Finette Isbell was born on Bennett farm near Lebanon in Madison County, New York, USA, on 26 October 1859 (claimed 1860). She was one of nine children born to parents Hiram Eber Isbell (1827–1911) and Juliaett Stewart (1829–1920). Two of her siblings were Silas Hervey (1865–1938) and Edith Rosmay Phelps (1867–1954).

After attending school in Morrisville and taking teacher training at Madison High School, she taught in rural schools and at Eaton Village School. After retiring in 1913, she became a librarian at the Morrisville Library until 1920. In the following years she lived on a farm in the Cherry Valley with her widowed mother and her sister. She never married nor had children.

In 1960, at the age of 101, she claimed how her ‘’formula for reaching the century mark’’ is simple – spending time with children in school.

Isbell passed away in Morrisville, Madison County, New York, USA, on 12 December 1969.

Advertise With Us

Learn how to advertise


At the time of death, she was the oldest (known) living person in the US. She was succeeded by Kitty Harvey of Kansas. She was also among the oldest known living people in the world, after Haruno Shimada of Japan (age not validated), Ada Roe of the United Kingdom (validated) and Taki Sugimoto of Japan (age not validated).

Isbell claimed to have been born on 26 October 1860, which would have made her 109 at the time of her passing. However, research conducted by an independent researcher, Jimmy Lindberg, strongly suggests how she was actually a year older – born on 26 October 1859. LongeviQuest examined the evidence and validated her with the final age of 110 years, 47 days.

Advertise With Us

Learn how to advertise


* “Retired Teacher To Be 99 Tomorrow” – Syracuse Post Standard, 25 October 1959

* “Miss Emma Isbell on 100-Year Mark Today” – The Post-Standard, 26 October 1960

* “Retired Teacher Dies At Age 109” – The Troy Record, 13 December 1969